The ‘Perfectly Preserved’ Body of the 300-Year-Old-In-A-Day Chinese Mummy Turns Black Hours After Coffin Is Opened, Confounding Experts

image

A 300-year-old burial area, in which two bodies were reduced to skeletons while one was perfectly preserved, has left Chinese archaeologists baffled.

When one of the coffins was opened, the man’s face, experts claim, was perfectly preserved. Within hours, however, the face started to go black, and a foul smell began to emanate from the body.

image

The skin on the corpse – which has now been taken to the local university for study – also turned black. The body is thought to be from the Qing Dynasty. It was unearthed on October 10 on a construction site in a two metre-deep hole in the ground at Xiangcheng in Henan province, central China.

Dr. Lukas Nickel, a specialist in Chinese art and archaeology at SOAS, University of London, told MailOnline that preservations such as these were not intentional. ‘The Chinese did not do any treatment of the body to preserve it as known from ancient Egypt, for instance.

‘They did, however, try to protect the body by putting it into mᴀssive coffins and stable tomb chambers. ‘So the integrity of the physical structure of the body was important to them. In early China, at least, one expected the ᴅᴇᴀᴅ person to live on in the tomb.’ Occasionally bodies in the Qing Dynasty were preserved by the natural conditions around the coffin.

image

In this case, the body may have had a lacquered coffin, covered in charcoal – which was common at the time. This means bacteria would have been unable to get in. Dr. Nickel added that if this was the case, as soon as the air hit the body, the natural process would be for it to turn black and quickly disintegrate.

When the coffin was opened by historians at Xiangcheng said the man’s face was almost normal but within hours it had started to go black, and a foul smell appeared. Historian Dong Hsiung said: ‘The clothes on the body indicate he was a very senior official from the early Qing Dynasty. ‘What is amazing is the way time seems to be catching up on the corpse, aging hundreds of years in a day.’

The Qing Dynasty, which lasted from 1644 to 1912, followed the Ming dynasty and was the last imperial dynasty of China before the creation of the Republic of China. Under the Qing territory, the empire grew to three times its size and the population increased from around 150 million to 450 million.

image

The present-day boundaries of China are largely based on the territory controlled by the Qing dynasty. Burial rituals in the Qing Dynasty were the responsibility of the eldest son and would have included a large number of officials. Professor Dong proposes an alternative theory for preservation.

‘It’s possible the man’s family used some materials to preserve the body,’ he said. ‘Once it was opened the natural process of decay could really start.’ ‘We are working hard though to save what there is.’

Historian Dong Hsiung said: ‘The clothes on the body indicate he was a very senior official from the early Qing Dynasty. What is amazing is the way time seems to be catching up on the corpse, aging hundreds of years in a day.

The Qing Dynasty, and the preceding Ming Dynasty, are known for their well-preserved corpses. In 2011, a 700-year-old mummy was discovered by chance in excellent condition in eastern China. The corpse of the high-ranking woman believed to be from the Ming Dynasty was stumbled across by a team who were looking to expand a street.

Discovered two metres below the road surface, the woman’s features – from her head to her shoes – retained their original condition, and had hardly deteriorated. The mummy was wearing a traditional Ming dynasty costume, and in the coffin were bones, ceramics, ancient writings, and other relics.

Director of the Museum of Taizhou, Wang Weiyin, said that the mummy’s clothes were made mostly of silk, with a little cotton. Researchers hope the latest finding could help them better understand the Qing dynasty’s funeral rituals and customs, as well as more about how bodies were preserved.

Related Posts

The Enigmatic Skeletons of the “Catacomb Saints,” Adorned in Jewels

D𝚎𝚎𝚙 withiп th𝚎 c𝚊t𝚊c𝚘m𝚋s 𝚘𝚏 E𝚞𝚛𝚘𝚙𝚎, 𝚊 𝚛𝚎m𝚊𝚛k𝚊𝚋l𝚎 𝚊п𝚍 s𝚘m𝚎wh𝚊t m𝚊c𝚊𝚋𝚛𝚎 t𝚛𝚊𝚍iti𝚘п 𝚎m𝚎𝚛𝚐𝚎𝚍 𝚍𝚞𝚛iп𝚐 th𝚎 Mi𝚍𝚍l𝚎 A𝚐𝚎s. It iпv𝚘lv𝚎𝚍 th𝚎 v𝚎п𝚎𝚛𝚊ti𝚘п 𝚘𝚏 “C𝚊t𝚊c𝚘m𝚋 S𝚊iпts,” which w𝚎𝚛𝚎 п𝚘t s𝚊iпts iп th𝚎 t𝚛𝚊𝚍iti𝚘п𝚊l s𝚎пs𝚎, 𝚋𝚞t sk𝚎l𝚎t𝚘пs 𝚘𝚏 𝚎𝚊𝚛l𝚢 Ch𝚛isti𝚊п m𝚊𝚛t𝚢𝚛s …

Read more

Unveiling Turkey’s Secret Gems Beneath Men’s Basements

A Basement Renovation Project Led to the Archaeological Discovery of a Lifetime: the Deruyuyu Underground City, which housed 20,000 people. We live cheek by jowl with undiscovered worlds. Sometimes the barriers that separate us are thick, sometimes they’re …

Read more

Thoth: Egyptian Deity of Wisdom and Writing

In th𝚎 ill𝚞st𝚛i𝚘𝚞s 𝚙𝚊nth𝚎𝚘n 𝚘𝚏 𝚊nci𝚎nt E𝚐𝚢𝚙ti𝚊n 𝚐𝚘𝚍s, 𝚏𝚎w 𝚏i𝚐𝚞𝚛𝚎s c𝚘mm𝚊n𝚍 𝚊s m𝚞ch 𝚛𝚎v𝚎𝚛𝚎nc𝚎 𝚊n𝚍 𝚊𝚍mi𝚛𝚊ti𝚘n 𝚊s Th𝚘th, th𝚎 𝚍ivin𝚎 sc𝚛i𝚋𝚎 𝚊n𝚍 𝚊𝚛𝚋it𝚎𝚛 𝚘𝚏 wis𝚍𝚘m. R𝚎v𝚎𝚛𝚎𝚍 𝚊s th𝚎 inv𝚎nt𝚘𝚛 𝚊n𝚍 𝚙𝚛𝚘t𝚎ct𝚘𝚛 𝚘𝚏 w𝚛itin𝚐, Th𝚘th’s in𝚏l𝚞𝚎nc𝚎 𝚎xt𝚎n𝚍𝚎𝚍 𝚏𝚊𝚛 𝚋𝚎𝚢𝚘n𝚍 th𝚎 𝚛𝚎𝚊lm …

Read more

Fossilized Footprints and Nearly Complete Fossil of 4ft Tall ‘Terror Bird’

The well-preserved tracks were left in the silt by a species of bird that would have made even today’s ostriches seem tame. Standing up to 3 meters in height and sporting razor-sharp claws as well as a beak capable of piercing a human’s skull, terror …

Read more

Everyone Knows the Mask of King Tut, but Have You Seen Any of the 5,000 Other Treasures from His Tomb?

T𝚘 his s𝚞𝚋j𝚎cts, Kin𝚐 T𝚞t𝚊nkh𝚊m𝚎n w𝚊s 𝚙𝚊𝚛t m𝚊n, 𝚙𝚊𝚛t 𝚐𝚘𝚍. His 𝚍𝚎𝚊th in 1323 BC si𝚐n𝚊l𝚎𝚍 th𝚎 𝚎n𝚍 𝚘𝚏 𝚊n 𝚎𝚛𝚊 – th𝚎 𝚎n𝚍 𝚘𝚏 E𝚐𝚢𝚙t 𝚊s 𝚊n im𝚙𝚎𝚛i𝚊l 𝚙𝚘w𝚎𝚛. Th𝚎 ci𝚛c𝚞mst𝚊nc𝚎s s𝚞𝚛𝚛𝚘𝚞n𝚍in𝚐 Kin𝚐 T𝚞t’s 𝚍𝚎𝚊th 𝚊𝚛𝚎 sh𝚛𝚘𝚞𝚍𝚎𝚍 in m𝚢st𝚎𝚛𝚢. E𝚚𝚞𝚊ll𝚢 𝚘𝚋sc𝚞𝚛𝚎 is th𝚎 𝚛𝚎𝚊s𝚘n 𝚏𝚘𝚛 …

Read more

Akhenaten’s Resplendent Wife, Queen Kiya, Embodied the Enigmatic Aura of Amarna

Q𝚞𝚎𝚎n Ki𝚢𝚊, t𝚑𝚎 m𝚢st𝚎𝚛i𝚘𝚞s c𝚘ns𝚘𝚛t 𝚘𝚏 t𝚑𝚎 𝚙𝚑𝚊𝚛𝚊𝚘𝚑 Ak𝚑𝚎n𝚊t𝚎n, c𝚊st 𝚊 c𝚊𝚙tiv𝚊tin𝚐 𝚊ll𝚞𝚛𝚎 𝚘v𝚎𝚛 t𝚑𝚎 s𝚞n-𝚍𝚛𝚎nc𝚑𝚎𝚍 l𝚊n𝚍 𝚘𝚏 𝚊nci𝚎nt E𝚐𝚢𝚙t 𝚍𝚞𝚛in𝚐 t𝚑𝚎 t𝚞m𝚞lt𝚞𝚘𝚞s 𝚙𝚎𝚛i𝚘𝚍 𝚘𝚏 t𝚑𝚎 Am𝚊𝚛n𝚊 P𝚎𝚛i𝚘𝚍. In t𝚑𝚎 s𝚑𝚊𝚍𝚘w 𝚘𝚏 𝚑𝚎𝚛 𝚑𝚞s𝚋𝚊n𝚍’s 𝚛𝚎v𝚘l𝚞ti𝚘n𝚊𝚛𝚢 𝚛𝚎i𝚐n, Q𝚞𝚎𝚎n Ki𝚢𝚊 𝚎m𝚎𝚛𝚐𝚎𝚍 …

Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *